The Headspace Approach to Science

At Headspace, we’re committed to moving the science of mindfulness forward. We provide subscriptions for researchers to test in a range of scenarios and have developed our own in-house and clinical research program.

We’re currently working to create more rigorous active controls, develop a better understanding of the dose-response relationship between meditation and its associated benefits, and determine what factors might predict who will benefit the most from mindfulness training.

We’re also committed to understanding how the benefits of in-person training in meditation translate to digital delivery. At Headspace and elsewhere, a number of studies have already begun addressing this question1 and have found that online mindfulness training does produce results in line with in-person training.

Our passion for researching the benefits of the Headspace app stems from our knowledge and understanding of the large body of evidence backing in-person mindfulness-based training programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. These programs have proven effective in supporting both healthy populations suffering routine stress2 and clinical populations experiencing disorders or pathology including anxiety3, depression4, insomnia5, cancer6, and chronic pain7.

  1. Spijkerman, M. P. J., Pots, W. T. M., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2016). Effectiveness of online mindfulness-based interventions in improving mental health: A review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Clinical psychology review, 45, 102-114.
  2. Sharma, M., & Rush, S. E. (2014). Mindfulness-based stress reduction as a stress management intervention for healthy individuals a systematic review. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 19(4), 271-286.
  3. Baxter, A. J., Scott, K. M., Vos, T., & Whiteford, H. A. (2013). Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: a systematic review and meta-regression. Psychological Medicine, 43(05), 897-910.
  4. Strauss, C., Cavanagh, K., Oliver, A., & Pettman, D. (2014). Mindfulness-based interventions for people diagnosed with a current episode of an anxiety or depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. PLoS One, 9(4), e96110.
  1. Gong, H., Ni, C. X., Liu, Y. Z., Zhang, Y., Su, W. J., Lian, Y. J., ... & Jiang, C. L. (2016). Mindfulness meditation for insomnia: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 89, 1-6.
  2. Zhang, J., Xu, R., Wang, B., & Wang, J. (2016). Effects of mindfulness-based therapy for patients with breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26, 1.
  3. Veehof, M. M., Trompetter, H. R., Bohlmeijer, E. T., & Schreurs, K. M. G. (2016). Acceptance-and mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of chronic pain: a meta-analytic review. Cognitive behaviour therapy, 45(1), 5-31.